U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and fourteen other House Democrats today introduced the New Apollo Energy Act as a clean energy policy in counterpoint to the current House Energy Bill (H.R. 6—earlier post).
On April 21, Congress stepped back in geologic time when the House of Representatives passed an energy policy of the dinosaurs, by the dinosaurs, and for the dinosaurs. This energy bill is truly a “Jurassic” piece of legislation that relies on a limited energy source derived from creatures and plants that died millions of years ago. In fact, 93 percent of the $8 billion in tax incentives in the bill go to oil, gas, and other traditional energy industries.—Rep. Inslee in Grist Magazine
Inslee has been championing the New Apollo concept for at least the last two years, and had offered it as an “amendment” (which was defeated) replacing much of the current House Energy Bill .
Key features of the New Apollo Energy Act include:
Fuel Efficiency. New Apollo includes incentives for American consumers to drive fuel-efficient vehicles, including tax credits for the purchase of hybrid, alternative-fuel, low-emission advanced diesel, and fuel-cell vehicles. It also provides $11.5 billion in tax credits for the automotive and aerospace industries to develop new fuel efficient automobiles and planes, retool existing plants, and construct new plants to manufacture energy-efficient vehicles.
Other provisions in the bill include an alternative fuel vehicle purchase requirement for government agencies; tax credits for the installation of alternative refueling properties and for the retail sale of alternative fuels; a renewable fuels standard set at 8 billion gallons by 2013; modification of the tax credit for qualified electric vehicles; and loans for schools to buy high-efficiency vehicles.
Clean Energy. New Apollo provides $49 billion in government loan guarantees for the construction of clean-energy generation facilities that will produce power from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, oceans, coal with carbon-sequestration technology, and other sources. The legislation also commits $10.5 billion to research-and-development and investment tax credits for clean energy-producing operations. In addition, it includes a 10-year extension of the current tax credit for electricity generated from clean sources.
Oil Savings. New Apollo calls for reductions in daily domestic oil consumption of 600,000 barrels a day by 2010; 1,700,000 barrels by 2015; and 3,000,000 barrels by 2020.
Global Warming and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. New Apollo enacts a proposal similar to the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act by capping US emissions of greenhouse gases while allowing companies to purchase and trade credits among themselves to ensure the most cost-effective reductions, and funding research to help industries make the shift to cleaner operations. The bill targets one of the biggest greenhouse-gas offenders—coal—by providing $7 billion in loan guarantees for the development of clean coal power plants.
Clean Energy Jobs. New Apollo invests billions of dollars in new federal research into advanced clean technologies, and creates a government-funded risk pool to help start-up clean-energy companies commercialize their products. One study by the Apollo Alliance has found that a substantial federal commitment to clean energy could yield up to 3.3 million jobs nationally.
Renewable Portfolio. New Apollo contains a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring all utilities, by 2021, to produce 10% of their electricity from renewable energy sources.
Energy Transmission. New Apollo creates national net-metering and interconnection standards that allow homeowners who generate clean energy to reduce their energy bills by feeding surplus electricity back into the grid. New Apollo additionally increases regulatory oversight of energy trading markets, which was a problem during Enron’s manipulation of the West Coast energy crisis.
The sponsors claim that the legislation is revenue-neutral, paying for its provisions by reducing corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and through auctioning off some of the allowances under the carbon dioxide trading program.
The New Apollo Energy Act Original Co-sponsors in Congress are: Jay Inslee (D-WA); Rush Holt (D-NJ); Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Steve Israel (D-NY); Mike Honda (D-CA); Jim McDermott (D-WA); Rick Larsen (D-WA); Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL); Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); James Langevin (D-RI); Raul Grijalva (D-AZ); Rahm Emanuel (D-IL); Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); George Miller (D-CA); Adam Smith (D-WA).